During their windy City visit last week, Seattle’s coolest couple, Kasey and John, waxed giddily about the fun and frolic of my downtown Chicago neighborhood. Their reaction stands in stark contrast to the one I normally get from native Chicagoans when I tell them I live downtown. It’s almost like telling a New Yorker you never ride the subway. The response is always the same: no one’s stopping you from doing it, but why would you want the hassle?
Of all the things I thought downtown’s 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly would offer as a compromise in the ongoing controversy over the Chicago Children’s Museum’s proposed move from Navy Pier to Daley Bicentennial Plaza, agreeing with a reporter’s suggestion to ‘put the museum in a cave’ wasn’t one of them.
On Friday, I was given unfettered access to interview the administrative staff of the Chicago Children’s Museum. I wanted to learn about the museum’s civic importance, programs, and reputation–all things Chicago dailies have ignored in their ongoing coverage of the controversy surrounding the museum’s proposed move from Navy Pier to Grant Park.
So far this week, we’ve seen the Chicago Tribune and 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly go toe-to-toe with Mayor Daley and a prominent Pritzker over the Chicago Children’s Museum’s proposed move to the ‘forever free and clear’ Grant Park. Whoever is left standing in the end, no one is coming out of this mess untarnished.
Today, was a litmus test for 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly. He failed. So much for aldermanic privilege. Mayor Daley may get the Chicago Children’s Museum moved to Grant Park after all.
I don’t have an answer to the question of whether the Chicago Children’s Museum should be allowed to build a new home for itself in the Daley Bicentennial Plaza section of Grant Park. But I do think the possibility deserves to be debated and not cut off at the knees as it seems the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune would have it.
Loved the weather and hated to work today, so I skipped out to Grant Park. While city workers made Buckingham Fountain sputter on and off, cleaning out winter goo, I made comfy on a semi-shady bench and read Kerouac.
I’m no knee-jerk fan of da mare, though I will say he’s finally an out-of-the-closet urbanist. However, the latest affront to the legacy of Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago speaks for itself. At least through the incisive words of Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin.